Bush Foundation History

The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and the people who power them. Looking back, this has been the case since the Foundation was founded in 1953. The specific initiatives, programs and tactics may have changed and evolved, but the work has always been rooted in supporting the organizations and people who think bigger and think differently about solutions to problems in their communities.

Archibald and Edyth Bush set up the Foundation to fund and be “operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary or educational purposes, including encouragement of art.” This open-ended approach, though a source of some complication following Archie’s death, ultimately set the stage for some of the Foundation’s most impactful work.

Archie & Edyth
The Beginnings of the Bush Foundation — from small town Granite Falls, Minnesota to the Fortune 500
Archibald & Edyth Bush
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The Story of Archibald Bush

Archibald (Archie) Granville Bush, a native of Granite Falls, Minnesota, joined Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (3M) as a bookkeeper in 1909 for a salary of $11.55 per week. He quickly rose up through the ranks and spent the majority of his career as chair of the executive committee.

While based in Chicago in 1919, Archie met and married a chorus girl/actress, Edyth Bassler Bush. Although she would give up both singing and acting professionally, Edyth and Archie’s support for the arts would remain evident throughout their philanthropic endeavors.

With no children of their own to inherit their $300 million estate, Archie and Edyth established the Bush Foundation in 1953. Over the next several decades, Archie, Edyth and the Foundation’s staff supported a range of initiatives from leadership development, early childhood education, healthcare, community problem solving and Native nation building to the arts.

Today the Foundation’s income derives from assets given by Archie and Edyth, primarily 3M stock. After Archie’s death, a portion of the Bush Foundation's assets were used to create the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, which is based in Winter Park, Florida.

Archibald Bush's Legacy

Our first president following the death of Archie was Humphrey Doermann. Leading the Foundation from 1971 to 1997, he was a major force in establishing a state-of-the-art grantmaking process based on due diligence and consultation, for which the Foundation is known. Following Doermann’s retirement, Anita Pampusch guided the Foundation to a new level of operational professionalism by investing in management systems and building a best-practice grants administration process. From 2007 to 2011, Peter Hutchinson set the direction of much of the ambitious work we are doing today. Jen Ford Reedy became president in 2012 and is leading our[DD1]  current work.

Building on the legacy and lessons of the past, we are focused on supporting the ideas and the leadership development of the people who are working to find solutions to their communities unique issues. As the programs continue to evolve, our emphasis is on encouraging the region’s leaders to think bigger and think differently about what is possible in their communities. And to do more good. Every year.

Publication Archive

Annual reports and publications dating back to 1963.

Access the archive